Video playback and graphics team uses Adobe Creative Cloud and plugins from FxFactory to create period-specific news content.
To make the set of GNN, the 24-hour news channel featured in Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, as realistic as possible required one essential element: content. It was the job of the video playback and graphics team to fill the dozens of screens throughout the fictional studio with realistic, period-specific news.
Rather than filling the screens in post production and using archived news reports, the team produced nearly all original content and fed it to the screens in real time. News reports were shot and composited with stock footage using an Adobe Creative Cloud video workflow and plugins from FxFactory, which offers a broad range of VFX tools for editors and compositors.
Playback Supervisor, Todd Marks, worked closely with his hand-picked team, designers Perry Freeze and Jeb Johenning to create the functioning 1980s GNN studio and news-office that helps set the stage for the blockbuster comedy. Todd and Jeb have worked together on many projects over the last twelve years; Perry was added to the team when they worked on The Internship in 2012.
Adobe: What were your roles on Anchorman 2?
Marks: I was the playback supervisor, responsible for overseeing all of the content creation and playback. In this case, my team put together and ran the functioning GNN studios, and we created all of the content, some which was story-specific and some was just background imagery to add to the reality of the time period and the set. We call it “bg” (background) footage and we created a lot of it.
Freeze: I worked as a designer on the film and also helped coordinate the data asset management, which involved keeping track of all of the moving pieces and approvals. On this movie we had a fairly short development cycle. We had to get up-and-running with a graphics package for the studio, and within the studio we wanted to have up to ten channels on air featuring news from around the world.
Johenning: I was also a designer, working with Perry on the content. When we initially looked at the breadth of content it was enormous. We had in excess of 100 different videos and one or more ways to create them, without actually knowing how they would be used.
Adobe: How does it all start?
Marks: We get a script and have to breakdown what’s written, which involves meetings with the production designer, set decorator, director, and even the props and construction people. We make recommendations and try to push beyond what most people think can be done. With the story-specific content, we needed to help tell the story in a short amount of time in a visually accurate, period-specific manner. Each film has different needs. For this movie, we needed to recreate a news studio look (we referenced CNN’s style during its launch in 1980). GNN starts with a simple graphics package at launch, as they are on the air longer, we had the look mature by increasing the complexity of the font and graphics package.
Adobe: How did you go about creating the content?
Freeze: We couldn’t possibly get clearance from actual archived material or we would have had to stick to a very narrow, stock footage type of content. So very early on we decided to make all of the content.
Johenning: In the GNN studio office, there is a big wall with fifteen different monitors that show everything happening around the world. Every piece of footage had to look local to its environment. We hired actors to be our period reporters and then filmed “man-on-the-street” interviews. I’m a videographer, so Perry and I worked with our video team and shot most of the unique footage for this project. The wardrobe people put the actors in period costumes and we filmed them against a green screen in both interior and exterior locations.
Later, we composited them into different locations, such as in front of the Pyramids in Egypt, the slums in Kenya, or farmland in Iowa. Each one had a different graphic look and feel. We created fake names for the people and used different fonts that would be local to each region. The backgrounds were sourced from stock footage or public domain sources. We also went around Atlanta, Georgia and filmed b-roll elements that we later used as content in our news reports, in addition to the composited green screen shots.
Adobe: Was it easy to integrate the new and old footage?
Johenning: All of the new footage was shot on a Sony F3, so it was beautiful HD quality. The stock footage backgrounds were 10-, 15-, even 20-years-old, standard-definition video and film, so the look of the two formats was completely different. We had to dumb down the foreground shots to make them look believable with the background stuff. We used an array of Adobe tools, including Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Photoshop, to make everything look authentic.
Marks: The PHYX products from FxFactory were used extensively. We used PHYX KEYER tools, PHYX CLEANER, and PHYX DEFOCUS to create composites, match the look of different footage, and add depth to the shots to make them look realistic. Using the PHYX filters with After Effects and Premiere Pro really helped to streamline our workflow.
Johenning: In some cases, we could stay entirely in Premiere Pro, and in other cases we would take footage into After Effects for more specialized compositing. We would ultimately always end up in Premiere Pro, where we would up-res the SD to HD so we could have the cleanest keys, edges, and color correction. The last step was to down-res and use the link to Media Encoder to output a piece of SD footage for playback on an SD monitor.
Adobe: Did you use any other plugins from FxFactory?
Marks: In addition to the PHYX filters, we used FxFactory Bad TV filters to add static hits and signal degradation, just as you would see with a normal satellite feed. Using these plugins adds a sense of reality and gives us the opportunity to do cuts that aren’t perceived by the audience. We used about ten different FxFactory plugins throughout the film. For news elements, there are specific plugins that add realism to the feel and look.
Adobe: What was the most challenging part of the data asset management?
Freeze: Films don’t shoot chronologically, so it’s important to keep track of what media needs to be on air and how it needs to look at that point in the movie. We used Adobe Bridge to keep track of revisions, star approved artwork, and manage all folders. Bridge is universally tied into Photoshop and Illustrator, making it easy to create contact sheets of all of our work, print them out and post them, or show the top ten revisions on an iPad to the director while on location, for quick approval.
Marks: The studio had about 150 CRT monitors, and we were able to route from 14 different feeds to each monitor at any time. It requires keeping track of what’s on each monitor in what scene, which involves lots of logistics in addition to the technical aspects. Some of first scenes we did in the studio were in Linda Jackson’s office, where there were three monitors on a far wall. We thought they would just be in the background, but the actors were placed right in front of them. You never know whether something you work on for days or weeks will be shown for just seconds or be featured prominently in a scene. This makes it even more important to keep track of shots so you don’t see the same footage in more than one scene.
Adobe: Have you started using Adobe Creative Cloud?
Johenning: I was already using Adobe Master Collection CS6, but when Creative Cloud came out I jumped on the bandwagon. An added benefit of CC included Adobe Muse. I was a user of Muse for my own business website and having that part of the Adobe CC collection was a real bonus! I had switched to Premiere Pro after Apple introduced Final Cut Pro X, and it’s the only editing program I use right now.
Freeze: I’m using Creative Cloud as well. The thing about using Creative Cloud is that when we’re working with teams everyone is on the same current, updated release. We used to deal with people not installing updates, or being on a different version all together, which created problems in our pipeline.
Adobe: What was the process like when you were on set?
Freeze: As prepared as we were, it was very much like a live news broadcast. We were using an AJA IO system to connect After Effects and Premiere Pro directly into our video switcher that was going out to the studio floor. It wasn’t what you would typically do in a TV production situation. We were creating content for the movie on the fly by tying directly into a switcher that was taking live camera feeds of Will Ferrell’s character, and then using After Effects to quickly apply lower thirds and over the shoulder graphics.
Marks: Because we were using standard definition CRTs, to make them look like they came from the right period, the set dressing department created plastic bezels that made the screen sizes even smaller than typical CRTs. This made the normal safety area even smaller, couple that with each old TV monitor’s slightly different scaling, and often I would actually have to be on the studio floor talking the control room through the proper positioning of the graphics on a featured screen.
Freeze: We would run around on the floor with cameras and take pictures of our work on the older TVs, go back to Photoshop or Illustrator and create a matte, and save it as a new title or action safe that could then be applied in After Effects or Premiere Pro when we were working so we knew how something would look when we put it on the period monitors. When you’re on a movie set and you have an entire crew, including all of the actors, waiting for you to finish something or change something it’s a lot of pressure.
Adobe: How is it different than the visual effects in other films?
Johenning: None of what we do is done in post production. A lot of visual effects in movies involve after-the-fact effects. I’m not diminishing the importance of that approach to moviemaking, but in our case rather than filling a monitor with a solid green image and creating, tracking, and coloring the content after a scene is shot, we have to do it as if it’s live TV and make it look real and believable.
Adobe: Why was this approach useful in the Anchorman 2 production?
Freeze: We ultimately helped make a better movie because the content was live. The actors could see themselves on the monitors and ad lib, and we made changes to things like titles on the fly.
Marks: We surprised the crew with our capabilities, and it freed the post production people up a lot. There was one scene where we were able to use Photoshop to quickly build a full map of the United States, with temperatures throughout the country, and then overlay satellite imagery using Premiere Pro. Because they were able to use the map in the scene instead of just having a green screen, Steve Carrell was able to see himself on the monitor and play off of what was happening. The director was also able to give him direction based on what he saw evolving. It was some of the most hysterical stuff we shot and it wouldn’t have happened if it was done in post production.
Adobe: Can you give an example of how After Effects was used?
Marks: One of the scenes in the movie shows the characters covering a car chase. Production was quite concerned about the cost of staging the chase, but the stock footage we had wasn’t long enough. Through some creative editing, Perry made it happen.
Freeze: We had chase footage of two cars, one grey convertible with a closed black canvas top on the freeway and one larger grey car primarily going through neighborhoods. We used the Roto Brush in After Effects to track the roof of the larger car and then darken the roof to match the other vehicle. By using tools in Premiere Pro to flip the footage and slow down and speed up shots, we were able to edit together a longer scene, with four different segments for playback.
Adobe: Were there any other benefits to working with Adobe video tools?
Marks: With Adobe tools being so portable we were able to take the same laptop we used on stage back to our hotel room and still have the same powerful workflow. It was especially useful when we were working late on graphics that were needed for the next day of shooting. Doing our job would be nearly impossible without Adobe’s powerful software.
Today the Adobe Pro Video team kicks of our presence at the 2014 National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show in Las Vegas. NAB is the biggest North American tradeshow of the year for us and we’ve been looking forward to it for months.
The product teams have been working tirelessly on all the new features that were revealed last week and we can’t wait to show them to you. If you’re attending NAB, be sure to stop by the Adobe booth and say hello (SL3910 in the Lower South Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center), check out all the new updates in the demo pods, and ask questions. We have a packed schedule on our main stage too including presentations on what’s coming next to Creative Cloud for video as well as some of the fantastic things other filmmakers, post houses, and broadcasters are doing with the Creative Cloud tools. (Hint: If you want to see zombies from AMC’s The Walking Dead, come by to see Sam Nicholson from Stargate Studios.)
Speaking of customers, I was lucky enough to moderate a really engaging keynote panel “Breaking the Rules: The Next-Gen Content Creator” at Post|Production World last weekend where customers Ryan Connolly (Film Riot/Triune Films), Kanen Flowers (That Post Show/That Studio) and Peter Salvia (YouTube Nation) talked about the next generation of media creation and bypassing traditional broadcast outlets. For more on the keynote, check our highlight video.
In addition to Adobe’s booth at NAB—where attendees can see all the goodness coming soon to Adobe Creative Cloud for video—they can also find Adobe Creative Cloud (and specifically Adobe Premiere Pro) being demoed in over 130 partner booths across the NAB show floor. The partner ecosystem is integral to bringing the fastest, most powerful and streamlined workflows to Premiere Pro customers so its an incredibly big focus for the Adobe Pro Video team. And there’s so much more to come: The one-and-only Al Mooney will be presenting at the Las Vegas Supermeet later this week and we’ll be interviewing product team members and customers.
If you’re not in Vegas, we’ll bring Vegas to you—all week long: Stay tuned to the NAB 2014 Channel on Adobe TV for a front row seat to the latest from the show; and make sure to catch our special NAB Ask a Video Pro session on Thursday, April 10 at 10:00 am PT. Jason Levine will be demoing the latest innovations coming to the Creative Cloud video apps like Premiere Pro and After Effects during “What’s coming next in Creative Cloud for video” a one-hour overview and Q&A. Join us. Register free.
Powster creates a striking user-interactive music video for Bombay Bicycle Club with Adobe Creative Cloud.
Powster is nothing if not innovative. The interactive and motion graphics company provides “over-the-top” content, concepts, and apps for the entertainment industry. Powster’s inspiring work has earned the firm multiple accolades, including Webby and FWA awards, and a designation as one of the few Facebook Preferred Marketing Developers. One of Powster’s latest endeavors is an interactive music video for the band Bombay Bicycle Club and their song “Carry Me.” Ste Thompson, founder and creative director of Powster, shares how the groundbreaking interactive music video came together.
Adobe: Tell us more about Powster.
Thompson: We create entertaining content, marketing concepts, and applications/games. Our biggest strengths are video and interactive. We’re among the first creative studios making interactive music videos like the one for Bombay Bicycle Club. The project was exciting because it was one of our most creative and innovative projects. Our team is half video and half interactive led, so the “Carry Me” project was a perfect fit.
In addition, we write quite a bit of custom software to pull off some of our more unique projects. We created Orbital Video, a technology that allows us to have multiple cameras in a circle with a performer—break dancer, musician—in the middle. Once the video is complete and published, viewers can switch between camera feeds or pause the motion. Our Orbital Video technology sparked our interest in creating the interactive music video for Bombay Bicycle Club.
Adobe: What makes the “Carry Me” music video unique?
Thompson: The video is an online experience that engages with audiences on a completely different level. It’s fun for users because they can manipulate the band members like stop-motion puppets. Users can control them and move their bodies while the band members continue drumming or lip-synching. The interactive experience with the music video is something very unusual, because it puts control in the hands of the viewer. As a side note, we created both the interactive version and a linear version that can be viewed more like a traditional music video.
Adobe: How did the idea for the video come about?
Thompson: Eadweard Muybridge, an English photographer from the late 1800s who studied motion and motion-picture projection, inspired the album theme, and the video. A lot of people know him from his studies of horses running; his work centers on taking multiple stills and weaving them together to create motion. It was Muybridge’s concepts and studies that established 24 frames per second as the standard for moving pictures. We created this project on the concept of a Zoetrope, a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures.
Adobe: Tell us more about the creative process behind the video.
Thompson: The whole idea was to be the first to make a linear piece of video footage interactive by allowing the user to switch between feeds, yet keep them in sync. We filmed 9 different camera feeds at 1080p resolution, animated them, and edited them together in Adobe Premiere Pro CC. We had 9 post-production processes on screen at once. Combined they were 5,000 pixels wide, so what we were trying to manage and edit was immense. We actually had to trick our graphics accelerator card and Adobe Premiere Pro CC so we could scale down every piece of footage and then scale each one back up in nested sequences, and retain quality. It was the opposite of most other workflows, where everyone wants to work with media at maximum resolution.
Adobe: How did you shoot the project?
Thompson: The shoot was fairly taxing. For us. And for the band. For example, we did nine different takes of the lead singer lip-synching and all the drummers drumming in different positions. It required a lot of patience and precise alignment, so we could play each frame after the other without it appearing jerky as viewers interacted with the footage.
Adobe: Why did you choose Adobe Premiere Pro CC?
Thompson: The flexibility of Adobe Premiere Pro CC is unprecedented. We’re standardized on Adobe Creative Cloud for its integration and versatility. For editing and post-production on most of our projects, we often have to do some unusual processes. For this project, we were able to push the Adobe software successfully and use it in different ways.
Adobe: How did you use Adobe After Effects CC?
Thompson: After Effects CC was as crucial as Premiere Pro CC. Nine animators worked to add frames. We used Expressions in After Effects to replicate how users would interact with the footage in the HTML5 version, as if someone on a desktop machine or other device with a browser would engage with the footage in real-time. In this way, we were able to view and alter how each user would interact with the video to create the best experiences.
Adobe: What other tools are you working with in Adobe Creative Cloud?
Thompson: Our main applications are Premiere Pro CC and After Effects CC, as well as Photoshop CC. We use Audition CC for sound editing, though we didn’t use it on this project specifically. We also do a lot of work destined for the web, so we are looking at Edge Inspect CC to obtain a snapshot of how projects will look on any device. Creative Cloud allows us to explore new creative possibilities and helps ensure that projects look and sound great on any device.
Adobe: If you had to sum up why you use Adobe Premiere Pro CC, what would you say?
Thompson: The reasons we use Premiere Pro CC are the same with the elements of Creative Cloud as a whole. We are not trying to make normal videos and films, so we need solutions that are flexible and allow us to experiment, innovate, and dream up new user interaction mechanisms. Creative Cloud and Premiere Pro CC are so versatile. They free us to create epic, interesting things.
Commercial television editor delivers stunning spots using an Adobe Creative Cloud workflow
Our friend Adam Pertofsky at Rock Paper Scissors has been busy these last few months. Since we last spoke with him, he’s completed the third part of the Captain Morgan series of commercials and cut three additional spots, one of which aired during the Super Bowl. We took a few minutes to catch up with him on his recent projects and use of Adobe Creative Cloud:
Adobe: Tell us about the Super Bowl commercial you worked on.
Pertofsky: It is the 60-second “Going All The Way” Coca-Cola spot that aired during the second half of the game. We worked on it with Wieden+Kennedy. I did all of the editing in Premiere Pro CC, as well as some color correction for the client presentation. It is a really sweet, classic spot that a lot of people will be moved by and enjoy.
Adobe: What other projects have you worked on?
Pertofsky: I cut a simple, funny commercial for Chevy that will air during the Winter Games. It was an easy process of working in Premiere Pro to do cuts and throw in some graphics using the Luma Key. I also used the title tool in Premiere Pro to set up a string of options for the creative director to look at and it was amazing and super simple.
Adobe: Did you use any other Adobe tools on this project?
Pertofsky: I’ve been using a lot of Adobe Media Encoder, which I find really fast and terrific. Recently, I was at my daughter’s volleyball practice and I needed to do some unexpected cut downs for the Chevy spot. I jumped into the back of my car, set up the project, did the cut downs, threw them into Media Encoder and was able to upload them using my phone.
Adobe: What’s the biggest project you’ve worked on recently?
Pertofsky: I cut a four-and-a-half minute commercial for Samsung with R/GA San Francisco. In the spot, aliens take over the earth and challenge the world to a game of football (soccer). It is a massive spot with a lot of variations and the version I worked on ties everything together. I used a lot of tools within Premiere Pro and a lot of After Effects CC, which was terrific. Reframing things and putting them in the right position before sending everything to the post house for final finishing was so easy and fast in Premiere Pro.
Adobe: How do you feel about the Captain Morgan series you completed?
Pertofsky: The last Captain Morgan spot came out great and I’m really proud of it. The project involved heavy use of After Effects and Premiere Pro. I love knowing that when I have a big effects gig going I have powerful programs that I can work with to make the offline presentation look good. For the Captain Morgan spot I used After Effects to create a garbage matte around an object that let me move things around easily and quickly, which was a huge help. Moving elements around and reframing is much easier and faster thanks to Dynamic Link; I can line everything up in Premiere Pro, quickly jump into After Effects, and then easily go back and open the project in Premiere Pro again with all of the moves applied.
Adobe: Now that you’ve been working with Adobe Premiere Pro CC for a while, have you made any new discoveries?
Pertofsky: One of the tools that works great in Premiere Pro is mixing on the fly. I can set it up, mix the spot, and it leaves keyframes behind that I can manipulate further later. A lot of times as I’m showing a rough cut to a client I’m actually mixing it in Premiere Pro at the same time. Then when they ask to watch it again, I’m just fixing the mix and it speeds up the whole process. This is also useful because clients don’t have the appetite to look at rough cuts, they want to see it as close to finished as possible without paying for it to be finished. We have to do as much as possible in the cutting room to make it look good. All of the LUTs that are in Premiere Pro are terrific for doing quick color changes.
Adobe: Are there any other tools that help speed your workflow?
Pertofsky: I have an NVIDIA Quadro K5000 and it makes me completely forget about rendering. With everything going in and out of After Effects and adding effects in Premiere Pro, it never slows me down.
Broadcaster uses Adobe Creative Cloud workflow to create opener promoting the winter games
The Winter Games are a chance for us to witness magic moments of incredible artistry and athleticism performed by the amazing athletes competing there. But in order for us to do so, broadcasters around the world spent months preparing for that short period of intense coverage. For Swiss Radio and Television (SRF), a publicly funded broadcaster serving the German-speaking part of Switzerland, the preparations included creating a stunning opener that builds excitement for audiences tuning-in to the games. Patrick Arnecke, head of design and promotion, leads the creative team responsible for design and production of the on air campaign.
Adobe: Tell us about the Swiss Radio and Television.
Arnecke: The SRF is a publicly funded broadcaster that serves the German-speaking part of Switzerland. We maintain two full-blown 24/7 TV channels, a TV repeat channel for news programs, seven radio channels, and an extensive online portal.
Adobe: What teams do you work with at the SRF and what do they produce?
Arnecke: I’m the head of the design and promotion team. The design team consists of 25 designers who do all corporate design, motion graphics and interaction design for SRF. Creatively they are responsible for channel branding, campaigns, image clips and labels as well as show packaging. We also do all of the 2D and 3D animation used for our TV magazines and news shows. The promotion team has eleven editors and promo producers who work on traditional on-air trailers as well as cross media campaigns.
Adobe: Tell us about the work you’ve done for the Winter Games?
Arnecke: Last year during the summer we started to rethink our overall sports design. We have various sports programs on air and wanted to repackage the whole set of shows for SRF zwei, our main entertainment and sports channel. We regularly cover huge events like the Winter Games for the Swiss audience, and we needed to come up with a solution for those events as well, and tie that into the overall design.
We decided to center our redesign around the core idea of the “magic moment”—those rare moments when extraordinary athletic performance seems almost supernatural. We then spent five days shooting all the necessary plates using RED Epic and Phantom Flex cameras, special camera rigs with a high speed camera carousel, and a huge 15m x 9m x 7.5m green screen area. Among other things, we staged ice hockey, alpine skiing, figure skating, snowboarding, ski jumping, and cross country skiing. Everything was conceptualized, directed, and pre- and post-produced by four in-house designers. From that footage we produced a 28-second opener for our Sochi coverage along with the show packaging, and the promo teasers that we used to ramp up the campaign in January.
Adobe: What products are you using to produce your content?
Arnecke: Right now we have a mix of Adobe Creative Cloud and Creative Suite 6 software. On the design team we use Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Our main tool for 2D animation is After Effects, and we rely on Cinema 4D as our main 3D package. The closer relationship between Adobe and Maxon and the strong connection between Cinema 4D and After Effects comes in very handy for our pipeline.
At the beginning of 2013 we started using Edge Animate to create small, interactive HTML5 elements to give our online news articles more depth and interactivity. For our video content, we started to work with SpeedGrade to give content from different sources a uniform look. During the last months we switched to Premiere Pro as our main editing tool, which replaces Final Cut Pro.
Adobe: What was the workflow for creating the Sochi opener?
Arnecke: In pre-production the responsible designers Martin Bernhard (director) and Simon Renfer (co-director) used Photoshop, with Wacom tablets and screens, to create the storyboards. On set and after the shoot was completed, we used SpeedGrade to convert the Phantom material and then edited the content in Premiere Pro. Lead 3D Artists Jürg Dummermuth and Simone Nucci did all of the 3D CGI with Cinema 4D. In addition to using After Effects for previsualization and animatics, it was also used for 2D animation, keying, rotoscoping, retouching, compositing, and grading. We’ve done a lot of smaller projects such as show openers and image trailers using Premiere Pro, but the Sochi opener is one of the biggest projects we’ve done to date with the new workflow.
Adobe: Why did you make the switch to Premiere Pro?
Arnecke: After Apple didn’t continue Final Cut Pro, we were looking for alternatives. The pipeline efficiencies that let us easily switch between Premiere Pro and After Effects are important to us. Premiere Pro is especially useful if we shoot on RED cameras because thanks to the Mercury Playback Engine we don’t have to convert and we can edit right away. We usually like to edit on set to see if what we’ve shot is exactly what we need.
Adobe: Tell us how you’re using Adobe Edge Animate CC?
Arnecke: We have a small team of designers who work on infographics for our daily news shows. We use graphical content created for on-air programming, add interactivity and repackage that content for our news articles online. For example, for the election of Pope Franziskus or the 50th anniversary of the President Kennedy assassination we created interactive explanatory pieces with Edge Animate. These interactives give more depth to our news articles online and typically take us one to three days to produce—last year we did more than 150 of these.
See examples of the infographics here
Adobe: What’s next for your team?
Arnecke: We’re planning a seven day shoot that will take place in March for our summer sports. With the success of the winter sports workflow, we’ll be using a similar setup.
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Art directors are becoming animators. Print designers are becoming web designers. Illustrators are also photographers and editors who also shoot film. They are the New Creatives, and we are celebrating their work.
With the Creative Cloud our product teams have removed the barriers to creative expression: Designers can build parallax HTML5 experiences. Illustrators are making EPUBs. Photographers are using their cameras and Adobe technology to become filmmakers. And coders have the tools to make beautiful design.
It’s an amazing and interesting time in our industry; people have the ability to self-express, in any discipline, without boundaries. I Am The New Creative promotes the amazing work our community is producing and marks this moment in time as a movement and a celebration of creativity.
One of the most incredible aspects of this program has been watching creative professionals merge their mediums and their portraits to produce “New Creatives” versions of themselves.
There’s something magical about the compositions. As a designer there’s always a part of me in my work, but to personalize my work in this way, to make my work more representative of me, presents an alternative perspective. All of the artists we’re working with are enjoying this experience and are appreciative of our desire to promote their amazing creative output.
Our new site highlights the New Creatives, their disciplines, their work, and their stories.
Visitors to the site can join us and become New Creatives (submissions are made through Behance and curated by our team); we’ll be choosing a number of artists and celebrating them and their work throughout our social properties and on Adobe.com during the coming year.
Be sure to check out the work of the New Creatives, get inspired, and join us.
Projection mapping installation relies on Adobe Creative Cloud tools
It almost had to happen. Tom Wait’s spooky spoken word song What’s He Building in There, is so evocative, so “visual” that it’s like film that plays in your mind. The challenge, though, is how to actually make a film that does justice to the genius of the original piece.
Ricardo Rivera, visual artist, filmmaker, and founder of Klip Collective, began exploring video projections when he worked as a club VJ in Philadelphia. “In 1998 I was playing around with Photoshop and discovered how to map images to surfaces,” recalls Rivera. “When After Effects added the ability to preview work through a mini DV connection, I discovered that I could easily play content through a digital projector.” Rivera pointed the projector at a wall in his kitchen and used it to canvas the surfaces. “Then I masked all of the elements in the kitchen using Photoshop and created what was, in effect, a multi-channel projection feed through one projector and one feed.”
Once Rivera had figured out the workflow, the possibilities were endless. Today Klip Collective holds two patents on projection mapping, a technique whereby video content is projected onto non-traditional display surfaces such as the sides of buildings, often as site-specific art. Different physical surfaces come to life in unexpected ways in a dance of shapes, color, and imagery, melding the permanence of architecture with the transience of light. These are the kinds of new frontiers for art that digital tools make possible.
Animated short film leverages tools in Adobe Creative Cloud
Drew Christie is a new kind of multimedia artist, as comfortable with pen and ink as he is with computers and creative software. Allergy to Originality, which will be shown at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, is a case in point, demonstrating how fluidly he moves between natural media and digital image manipulations.
Combining illustration with animation, the short film riffs on the theme of originality and plagiarism with long passages lifted verbatim from Wikipedia. The piece maintains a natural hand-drawn feel along with the uneven, slightly jumpy cinema of the old silent movies.
“I started creating animation before I knew what animation was,” recalls Christie. “When I was a young child I filmed my Star Wars figures using my dad’s video camera. It just went on from there.”
Creative Cloud is always evolving and ongoing updates are one of the most popular benefits for users. In a fast-changing industry, Creative Cloud members always have the latest versions of the pro video tools as soon as they are available, including feature enhancements and optimized performance.
This morning updates for Adobe Premiere Pro CC, SpeedGrade CC, Prelude CC, and Adobe Media Encoder CC will begin rolling out. The new video updates will become available to Creative Cloud members over the next 24 hours. A new After Effects CC update will follow soon.
Adobe Premiere Pro
Adobe Premiere Pro CC has seen four new releases in this year (June , July , October, and now, December) – all within the 6 months since the CC version was announced. Guided by user requests, the Adobe Premiere Pro CC December 2013 release adds Open CL performance enhancements, media management improvements like multiple Media Browser tabs, new editing enhancements for even greater workflow efficiency, and delivers more intuitive voiceover recording.
“Adobe is committed to delivering the best professional NLE in the industry,” said Al Mooney, senior product manager for Adobe Premiere Pro. “Video pros need tools that keep up with ongoing developments in film and broadcast. That’s exactly what Creative Cloud gives them.”
After Effects CC, the leading motion graphics and visual effects application, is evolving faster than ever with Creative Cloud. “Our team turned around this release in a matter of weeks based on direct feedback from our users,” said Steve Forde, senior product manager for After Effects. “With regular Creative Cloud updates, we’re able to continually evolve and enhance our feature set. Your tools just keep getting better.”
The After Effects CC December 2013 release will offer customizable output of file name and path templates, improved snapping behavior, enhanced scripting options, and the ability to migrate user settings when updating to newer versions.
More updates for video pros
Creative Cloud offers video pros an integrated workflow across the video production applications. The December 2013 releases also includes updates to SpeedGrade CC , Prelude CC, Adobe Media Encoder CC, and Adobe Anywhere for video. Along with performance enhancements, SpeedGrade also offers expanded camera format support in Direct Link mode. Prelude CC has added support for the latest Adobe Anywhere protocols. Adobe Media Encoder now includes Sony XAVC format support, and Adobe Anywhere introduces performance improvements and diagnostic tools for monitoring system status.
Creative Cloud: one million strong and growing
There are already over one million Creative Cloud members with more joining every day. Already a Creative Cloud member? Launch the Creative Cloud application to get started using these great new features. The new updates will be available there within 24 hours.
Not yet a Creative Cloud member? Sign up for a free membership and get access to 30-day trials of every Adobe creative desktop application, including the latest versions of all the video tools.
Want to learn a new creative app? Both free and paid members also have access to cool new training videos, including sample work files, in Creative Cloud Learn to help you get up and running fast.
Richard Jobson uses all Adobe Pipeline on Wayland’s Song
We really pushed the boundaries of what you can do with the Creative Cloud software. For me, it’s almost like being in a punk band again with Adobe: SpeedGrade and After Effects are my drummer and my bass player and Premiere Pro is my guitarist, who’s been getting much better. I have my band, and now I can tell my stories.
- Richard Jobson
Leveraging the complete Adobe Creative Cloud toolset, Wayland’s Song, which premiered at Cannes on May 25, 2013, was written and directed by Richard Jobson. A former movie critic and television host, Jobson started his career as the charismatic front man for 1970’s punk band, The Skids. After working in broadcast, he began screenwriting in 2000 and was soon directing short films and game cinematics. Early writing and directing highlights included Heartlands, and 16 Years or Alcohol.
As an independent filmmaker Jobson brings a practical, can-do attitude to his work, producing movies that are technically innovative and pioneering in terms of subject matter; such as his visually powerful 2009 human trafficking short, The Journey.
Filmmaker Richard Jobson speaks about Waylands Song at Adobe&Filmmakers event.
Already familiar with Photoshop and After Effects, Jobson started editing with Adobe Premiere Pro in 2011 to conform and finish The Somnambulists – an arresting portrayal of fallen service personnel, recounting their experiences in Iraq, from beyond the grave.
“Premiere Pro allowed me to go back to the original, native rushes that I shot in camera, without changing or degrading the image,” said Jobson. No other software allowed me to do that. With Premiere Pro’s dynamic link to After Effects, completing the film in Adobe software was a no-brainer for me.”
For his latest feature film, Wayland’s Song, Richard Jobson moved to an all Adobe workflow: Starting with Adobe Story Plus, which he used for script editing, preproduction planning, and to generate detailed production schedules, all the material was moved smoothly through Adobe Prelude, Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Adobe Audition, and finally SpeedGrade for finishing.
Creating Wayland’s Song
Inspired by a Nordic myth, Wayland’s Song tells the story of a British soldier returning from Afghanistan. While the world he left behind him seemed dark and medieval, the world he returns to appears little better. He discovers that his daughter has disappeared and the film follows his search for her, a journey through friendship, tragedy and ultimately revenge.
“I have always loved a kind of graphic sensibility in my stories,” reflected Jobson. “The Wayland character has almost been lifted from a graphic novel. I love that type of thing. In all of my films I use the camera and lighting to create this quality.”
Wayland’s Song was beautifully shot on the Canon C300 by Director of Photography Andrei Austin. Offload, back-up and ingest was done with Adobe Prelude, which the production team used for shot-logging, adding metadata for use in postproduction, and pre-editing.
Adobe Prelude was used for camera file ingest and shot logging on Wayland’s Song.
Visual effects and graphics were created entirely in Photoshop and After Effects, including a series of colorful, experimental sequences portraying the main character’s collapse into a seizure. “I suffer from epilepsy myself, and I wanted to visualize that overwhelming sensory experience, where mind and body are flooded with light and you enter a world of hyper reality,” said Jobson.
The film was edited by Steven Sander in Adobe Premiere Pro. Moving to a native workflow allowed for a much faster pipeline that required no transcoding or rewrapping of files. XDCAM, Apple ProRes and H.264 codecs were all mixed on the same timeline in a smooth, seamless process. The combination of HP hardware, an Nvidia Quadro 5000 graphics card and the Mercury Playback Engine in Premiere Pro eliminated rendering from the editing process and allowed instant feedback when working with complex visual effects.
“I was instantly impressed by the speed and responsiveness of Premiere Pro,” said Sander. “It seemed to handle everything we threw at it and it was great to be able to switch between Mac and Windows hardware, as needed, without converting sequences or media.”
Audio clean-up and mixing was done in Adobe Audition by musician and composer Keith Atack, who previously worked with Jobson on Heartlands and 16 Years of Alcohol. “This was a really fun and challenging project. A number of the team have a background in video game production and we tried to bring some of that dynamic to both the visuals and the sound design,” said Atack. “Audition lets me to work quickly and intuitively, allowing me as a sound designer to stay in the creative moment and get instant feedback. That was really useful for the more experimental sections of the film.”
Audio editing for Wayland’s Song was done in Adobe Audition.
Grading and finishing were completed in SpeedGrade by colorist Dado Valentic at his MyTherapy facility in central London. Valentic has been a longtime SpeedGrade user.
“We actually developed the looks for the project in SpeedGrade before we started production,” explained Jobson. “This allowed us to view our shots as they came in with the creative looks applied. It was really helpful – just one of the ways that these tools allowed us to work faster and more efficiently.”
Colorist Dado Valentic talks about his work with SpeedGrade on Wayland’s Song.
“Richard gave me a lot of creative freedom on this project,” said Valentic, “so I could really put SpeedGrade through its paces. I applied technical looks, which I created to adjust the camera color spaces, along with the creative looks Richard used during production. With SpeedGrade, all of these color adjustments are layered so it’s easy to combine all of them for a final result that is both color corrected and stylized with the artistic look of the film.”
Filmmaking with Adobe Creative Cloud
Jobson joined Creative Cloud in 2012, soon after it became available, and couldn’t be happier with the service and the tools. “Adobe Story Plus gives me a great place to start my projects, and with the whole package I have all the tools for production right through to finishing. This software gives me the freedom to make films the way I want to make them.”
Wayland’s Song premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival on May 18 and will see theatrical distribution in the UK and Europe in September 2013.
Join Richard Jobson for an Ask a Video Pro online seminar at 10 am PST on June 13, 2013. Signup is free http://adobe.ly/p6ZMbd